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      OKT3 Therapy in Addition to Tacrolimus Is Associated with Improved Long-Term Function in Patients with Steroid Refractory Renal Allograft Rejection

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          Background/Aims: The aim of this study was to evaluate long-term allograft salvage rates of patients with steroid refractory allograft rejection after kidney transplantation and to identify factors indicating a successful outcome. Patients and Methods: Fifty patients with continuing rejection after high-dose steroids were included in the study. Baseline immunosuppression was switched from cyclosporine to tacrolimus in all patients. Twenty patients additionally received OKT3 as antirejection therapy. Patients having received a cadaveric renal transplant in 1995, excluding patients with steroid resistant rejection, were chosen as a control cohort. Results: Patient survival rates were 96% (n = 48) and 90% (n = 45) and allograft survival rates were 66% (n = 33) and 62% (n = 31) after 5 and 7 years following steroid refractory renal allograft rejection. Graft survival within the control cohort was 73% after 5 years and 69% after 7 years. Creatinine clearance increased from 20 ± 15 ml/min/1.73 m<sup>2</sup> at the start of tacrolimus therapy to 37 ± 29 ml/min/1.73 m<sup>2</sup> and to 32 ± 26 ml/min/1.73 m<sup>2</sup> after 5 and 7 years. OKT3 treatment predicted successful rescue therapy (p = 0.005 and p = 0.04 after 5 and 7 years). Conclusion: Our data indicate a reasonable graft survival in steroid refractory renal allograft rejection using tacrolimus. OKT3 treatment in addition to tacrolimus therapy may be beneficial for long-term allograft survival.

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          Most cited references 18

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          Rituximab as treatment for refractory kidney transplant rejection.

          Recent studies have shown that a high density of CD 20+ cells are seen in patients who have steroid-resistant rejection episodes. Rituximab is a high-affinity CD-20 specific antibody that inhibits B-cell proliferation while inducing cellular apoptosis. Thus, it is a rational choice for therapy in transplantation to abrogate B-cell-mediated events. Twenty-seven patients were diagnosed with biopsy-confirmed rejection manifested by thrombotic microangiopathy and/or endothelialitis between 2/99 and 2/02 at our institution. These individuals were treated with a single dose of rituximab, in addition to other therapies, in an effort to reverse their rejection episodes. Twenty-four received additional steroids while 22 of the 27 patients were also treated with plasmapheresis and antithymocyte globulin (ATG). Only three patients experienced graft loss not associated with patient death during the follow-up period (605 +/- 335.3 days). In the 24 successfully treated patients, the serum creatinine at the time of initiating rituximab therapy was 5.6 +/- 1.0 mg/dL and decreased to 0.95 +/- 0.7 mg/dL at discharge. The addition of rituximab may improve outcomes in severe, steroid-resistant or antibody-mediated rejection episodes after kidney transplantation.
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            Posttransplant therapy using high-dose human immunoglobulin (intravenous gammaglobulin) to control acute humoral rejection in renal and cardiac allograft recipients and potential mechanism of action.

            Intravenous gammaglobulin (i.v.IG) contains anti-idiotypic antibodies that are potent inhibitors of HLA-specific alloantibodies in vitro and in vivo. In addition, highly HLA-allosensitized patients awaiting transplantation can have HLA alloantibody levels reduced dramatically by i.v.IG infusions, and subsequent transplantation can be accomplished successfully with a crossmatch-negative, histoincompatible organ. In this study, we investigated the possible use of i.v.IG to reduce donor-specific anti-HLA alloantibodies arising after transplantation and its efficacy in treating antibody-mediated allograft rejection (AR) episodes. We present data on 10 patients with severe allograft rejection, four of whom developed AR episodes associated with high levels of donor-specific anti-HLA alloantibodies. Most patients showed rapid improvements in AR episodes, with resolution noted within 2-5 days after i.v.IG infusions in all patients. i.v.IG treatment also rapidly reduced donor-specific anti-HLA alloantibody levels after i.v.IG infusion. All AR episodes were reversed. Freedom from recurrent rejection episodes was seen in 9 of 10 patients, some with up to 5 years of follow-up. Results of protein G column fractionation studies from two patients suggest that the potential mechanism by which i.v.IG induces in vivo suppression is a sequence of events leading from initial inhibition due to passive transfer of IgG to eventual active induction of an IgM or IgG blocking antibody in the recipient. I.v.IG appears to be an effective therapy to control posttransplant AR episodes in heart and kidney transplant recipients, including patients who have had no success with conventional therapies. Vascular rejection episodes associated with development of donor-specific cytotoxic antibodies appears to be particularly responsive to i.v.IG therapy.
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              Plasma exchange and tacrolimus-mycophenolate rescue for acute humoral rejection in kidney transplantation.

              Acute renal allograft rejection associated with the development of donor-specific alloantibody (acute humoral rejection, AHR) typically carries a poor prognosis. The best treatment of this condition remains undefined. During a 14-month period, 73 renal transplants were performed. During the first postoperative month, five recipients (6.8%) with AHR were identified. The diagnosis was based on: (1) evidence of severe rejection, resistant to steroid and antilymphocyte therapy; (2) typical pathologic features; and (3) demonstration of donor-specific alloantibody (DSA) in recipient's serum at the time of rejection. Pretransplant donor-specific T- and B-cell cross-matches were negative. Plasma exchange (PE, four to seven treatments per patient) significantly decreased circulating DSA to almost pretransplant levels in four of five patients, and improvement in renal function occurred in all patients. One patient had recurrent renal dysfunction in the setting of an increase in circulating DSA. A second series of five PE treatments decreased DSA and reversed the rejection episode. Rescue therapy with tacrolimus (initial mean dose: 0.14+/-0.32 mg/kg/day) and mycophenolate mofetil (2 g/day) was used in five of five and four of five patients, respectively. With a mean follow-up of 19.6+/-5.6 months, patient and allograft survival are 100%. Renal function remains excellent with a mean current serum creatinine of 1.2+/-0.3 mg/dl. (range: 0.9-1.8 mg/dl). Our findings suggest that a therapeutic approach combining PE and tacrolimus-mycophenolate mofetil rescue has the potential to improve the outcome of AHR.

                Author and article information

                Nephron Clin Pract
                Nephron Clinical Practice
                S. Karger AG
                June 2006
                13 March 2006
                : 103
                : 3
                : c94-c99
                aDepartment of Nephrology, School of Medicine, University of Duisburg-Essen, Essen, and bDepartment of Nephrology, University Hospital Klinikum rechts der Isar, Munich, Germany
                92017 Nephron Clin Pract 2006;103:c94–c99
                © 2006 S. Karger AG, Basel

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                Figures: 1, Tables: 1, References: 23, Pages: 1
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